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Sunday Meditation: Every Day Ritual

takecomfortI wake up this morning of my own accord. There is no alarm clock, just time to be me.

But there is ritual in this nothingness, this casual waking and being.

I pad to the kitchen, stumble over my own feet, turn the patio blinds, come back to the enveloping embrace of my still-warm, duvet mountain of a bed and send up a prayer that I’ve come to realize I’ve been saying, in my own way, at my own speed, for many years. It is a prayer of gratitude.

And then my mind turns to wonder…this morning it’s about a lunch date with a an old flame, the pros and cons of moving, how much I’m looking forward to sprucing up my little corner of the world….

Wonder, the butler to her majesty; Curiosity.

Eventually I pour  coffee, a lot of coffee,  into one of my  oversized mugs that was gifted from friends, open the window over my writing desk, and sit down at the keyboard. My feline mentor scrambles onto the desk,past the plant that I barely manage to keep alive, and paws at the lace curtain until I lift it up, and place it over his head like a wedding veil. We both look out to the painting mother nature has created over night and breathe in the cool, fresh, morning air. .

This is my ritual. Every writer has one, and this is mine.

This morning, as I clock-watch and know that my time in front of the keyboard at my little window is short, I am grateful for my simple ritual. It grounds me just enough for inspiration to take root.

It grounds me just enough to turn anxiety into excitement, fear into courage, and sadness into a fading memory.

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Dreaming in the Gray Area

"To accomplish great things, we must not only act but dream; not only plan, but also believe." ~Anatole France~
“To accomplish great things, we must not only act but dream; not only plan, but also believe.”
~Anatole France~

Last night I had the strangest dream…

I sailed away to China, in a little row boat to find ya….

If you’re a child of the 80’s, you just sang that didn’t you?

Anyway, last night I had a dream. I really do have the strangest dreams, and I pay attention to them.

If I really took the time to listen to the quiet whispering of my dreams and intuition, I’d likely be a lot happier.  Since most people consider me some kind of weird genius twist on a Buddhist-suit-wearing-hippie-mortician, it’s surprising that I don’t do more crazy stuff.

I pay a whole lot more attention to my intuition than the average fabulous man or woman. I make a lot of decisions based on what feels right, and they usually turn out to be exactly the right thing.

Most people see the world in black and white, right and wrong. Sometimes things are that simple, but most of the time they’re not. We only like those kind of definites because our wee little human brains need to compartmentalize in order to keep us relatively sane.

Those of us with creative spirits and open hearts who actually care about the quality of life rather than the quantifiable materialism that seems to define what is normal, know that we live within the gray, and that black and white are merely the adult security blankies of our fragile psyches.

A  few weeks ago, as I was tromping my way up a staircase in high heels and freshly dry-cleaned suit, feeling like death’s older, much more sinister big sister, I thought, “I can’t do this any more”.

Then guess what I did my sweet little peaches? Did I drop to my knees in tears? Did I pack up my big, black briefcase and hand in my name badge? Did march through the office with a bass drum singing, “I quit”? No. I did none of those things. I didn’t even collapse and wave a metaphorical white flag.

Instead, I laughed. Out loud.

I laughed because immediately after I told myself, ” I can’t do this any more”, I immediately thought, “You don’t have to”. That’s what made me laugh.

That crazy well-informed and well schooled voice deep down inside my crazy-wild-woman soul was exactly right.

We always, always, always have a choice. The choices may not be ideal, or the stuff of your favourite fairytale, but we always have a choice.

Since then I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about where I want to steer this crazy bus of a life. I haven’t made a list of pro’s and con’s. I haven’t loaded up on self-help books and popular psycho-babble poo-ha.

I have let the uncertainty roam freely about in the glorious unknown corners of my human spirit. Eventually something will come to light out of the darkness, and I will be off in what will likely be an unexpected direction to an unknown destination. It is after all, about the journey folks.

I don’t know when, I don’t know how, what, where, or if anyone will accompany me. I just know that it will happen.

So, last night I had this dream, and it was a weird one, fueled by a late  dinner, wine, vampire stories  and a fever. But I trust it. I bother with it. I consider it, look up the meaning of elements that make up the whole, and I learn what my soul is trying so hard to  to tell me.

Shhh. If you listen, you’ll know what to do next. I promise sweetheart,  I promise.

 

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No Mud No Lotus

lotusmudNo kidding.

We know that already don’t we? We’ve all heard the sayings;

It’s always darkest before the dawn

No pain, no gain.

You can’t have a rainbow without the rain.

It’s in when I’m in the middle of chaos that I know my mind and emotions rock back and forth as violently as a ship on a stormy sea.

It is when I’m in the middle of chaos that I forget all of my training as a meditating wonder. Instead,  I laugh, cry, rage and cower randomly, and often.

It’s when I’m in the middle of chaos that I forget my breath.

I forget that deep knowing in my soul that the world is as it should be, and the best thing to do is to surrender and do my best in the present moment.

Instead, I regret the past, I fear the future, hope, despair and basically, drive myself crazy.

I guzzle my tea, swallow my food, and forget what I’m actually doing while my mind is travelling through the time-space continuum.

Little phrases like, ‘No Mud No Lotus’, coined by Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay) can seem kitschy and meaningless when you see them plastered on a car bumper, or posted on a Facebook page.

For practicing Buddhists they can be a bell calling them back to their breath, to the present moment.

These concise little phrases  can be the reminder that you haven’t really ‘practicing‘ anything, and you need to get back to the cushion.

No Mud No Lotus. 

Tomorrow before I hit the shower, I will remember to great the morning;

wakingupthismorning

 

After I repeat that my butt will hit  the cushion.

This weekend before I head out to work on Saturday night, I will register for my annual meditation retreat.

Tonight, before bedtime, I will breath. I will smile.

I will have to dig deep, past all of the, ‘screw this’s, and screw you’s’, and I will remember just how much I have to be grateful for.

No Mud No Lotus; Thanks for the reminder.

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Unanswered Prayers

Whew!
Whew! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You know the words to that now classic Garth Brooks song right? “Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers.” If you don’t, you should.

Today I had yet another reminder that unanswered prayers are as much a blessing as the ones that are answered.

Whomever, or whatever you pray to, I believe it’s as important to acknowledge the unanswered prayers with grace and gratitude as it is to give thanks when you receive a wonderful blessing.

Generally, if you look back at the things that didn’t work out, you’re pretty happy right?

I think of the last ‘longer term’ relationship I had. Whew! That was a close call, he almost managed to smother my fabulous, vibrant, flamboyant, self. Imagine the horror of losing such a fine lady to the abyss of badboyfrienddom. I thank my lucky stars!

Not one, but two of my prospective career moves were halted at the last-minute. Just in time, as it turns out, to save me from leaping into a position that was terminated just months (and in one case days) later. Whew! Thank you universe!

Although it hasn’t been received with applause, I have avoided the ‘c’ word (commitment) since my last relationship, resulting in deeper friendships, and a lot more fun.

Commitment isn’t a bad thing sweeties, but it is with the wrong partner.

In a couple of cases it was not divine intervention, or the universe reflecting my own positive energy, or the great hand of God smiting mine enemies. No. It was my very own decision-making.

I did not dial after half a bottle of bubbly. I did not let him spend the night (always best to wake up on your own time isn’t it gals?). I did not accept dates that I knew would end in heartbreak for he or I. I did not decline advice, or offers of support.

I did dream. I did take care of myself (body and soul my sweet peaches). I launched a plan and followed it step by step. I’m still following it. After all, life is a journey.

Huh? Hmm? Am I blessed with unanswered prayers, or just a new, rejuvenated sense of self and purpose?

Hard to say, but just in case, I am thanking the universe for all of my unanswered prayers. I’ll do my best to listen to what the universe is trying to tell me.

For any of you struggling with something that didn’t happen for you, rest assured, in a few days, weeks, months, or even years, you will look back and be grateful.